Young people (aged 18-24) are 50% more likely to be injured at work than any other group of workers (European Agency for Safety and Health and Work)
Young people as new recruits at higher risk of workplace injury (ESRI, 2015)
Pictured at the ten year celebration of the HSA Choose Safety – Young People at Work Programme was, left to right, Margaret Maxwell, Director, Kilkenny Education Centre, Dr. Sharon McGuinness, CEO, Health and Safety Authority, Frank McKenna, Choose Safety Co-Ordinator, Kilkenny Education Centre, Joanne Harmon, Head of Education, Health and Safety Authority
Kilkenny Education Centre and the Health and Safety Authority celebrated ten years of its flagship programme Choose Safety, which is aimed at Post Primary Senior Cycle students and students in Further Education in Kilkenny, Carlow and Tipperary. Choose Safety aims to prepare young people with skills for the world of work through educating them about safety, health and welfare.
More than 28,000 students nationally participated in the Choose Safety Programme in Transition Year, Leaving Certificate Applied (LCA), Leaving Certificate Vocational Programmes (LCVP) and across Further Education settings, in the 2017-2018 academic year. Within Further Education, the Programme is taught to growing numbers of students on PLC courses, courses at Level 4 and 5 on the National Framework of Qualifications, within Youthreach, and the National Learning Network.
Speaking at a seminar to mark the occasion, CEO of the Health and Safety Authority, Dr. Sharon McGuinness, said that the success of the Programme comes from the wide recognition that safety, health and welfare is a core concern within employment and that young people need to be aware of their rights and responsibilities around safety, health and welfare at work.
Dr. McGuinness said, “Young people, as new recruits, are at a higher risk of workplace injury than their more experienced colleagues. Their lack of experience, combined with being new to the world of work can leave them exposed and vulnerable to workplace accidents and injuries. They need a good common sense grounding in what it means to look after themselves and those around them in the workplace. The Choose Safety Programme supports young people in Kilkenny, Carlow and Tipperary to develop a ‘safety first mind-set’ before they reach the workplace. This also makes a lot of sense for employers who are responsible for managing workplace safety and health and recruiting these young people.”
Choose Safety consists of safety, health and welfare programme texts for teachers and students, which are supplied, free of charge to schools/further education settings. It includes a free e-learning course ‘Get Safe – Work Safe’ which can be found at https://hsalearning.ie. The Programme is co-ordinated locally by the 21 Full-time Education Centres and is rolled out from Kilkenny Education Centre. Certificates of completion can be awarded as well as online digital badges for any units completed.
Margaret Maxwell, Director of Kilkenny Education Centre, said, “We encourage all schools and further education colleges preparing young people for work to deliver the programme. Choose Safety gives students the opportunity to explore core principles of health and safety as it applies in their current or future work experience or workplaces. These are essential life skills for young people and can make them more attractive to employers.”